Inside: Need to keep your family organized but don’t have a lot of room to do it in? Here are the most genius tips on keeping your sanity while staying organized!
Family Command Center Tips and Layout Ideas
When you’re trying to get a family of 5 people organized, it can be hard to figure out what information belongs where.
It’s easy to get distracted and lose track of what we are supposed to be doing and when. And we have a gorgeous farmhouse-style table, and I hate that it just continually is covered in crap. We can’t enjoy dinner at the kitchen table.
A family command center can be a great solution. Still, it’s challenging to decide where to even place everything when designing your family command center.
Should the family calendar go in the kitchen or living room? How about all of your files or mail? And what about keeping track of grocery lists?
A family command center can be the solution you need! It helps keep your family organized and saves time by eliminating the need to search through piles of paper or dig in email inboxes.
You can build or modify your command center in any way that fits your family’s needs. Maybe make use of a small empty wall, or perhaps you have the real estate for a large calendar and the ability to even add some decorative touches.
- What is a command center?
- What should be in a family command center?
- 11 Possible Command Center Layouts
- Top 3 Tips To Creating Habits and Routines Around the Family Command Center
What is a command center?
A command center is a dedicated area in your home (usually in a kitchen or a mudroom area). The space can be super flexible and change as your family changes in size, age, or schedule.
Typically some components make up a command center that can make the best use of the space, regardless of how large or small of an area you’re working within your own home.
Your command center can be a small bowl where you drop keys and the mail, or it can be an entire blank wall that you may have in your house.
In a nutshell, a command center is a location you set aside to keep track of all your family’s vital information so that everyone may access it in a pinch.
What should be in a family command center?
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This is going to depend significantly on your space. You want a command center that will truly help your family and not just be something you walk past every day.
Here are some great foundational components to consider:
Some may choose a weekly calendar that you simply erase and change weekly.
Others may choose a monthly calendar so you can see weeks ahead and plan around events.
When I think of a command center, I would love a personalized monthly calendar like this because ya girl is a planner. I need to see things in front of me, so I don’t run the risk of overcommitting.
Like the time I tried to let Charlotte be in a play on the same night her brother had soccer while she also had gymnastics and dance the following days. Yikes.
I love the idea of a menu for several reasons.
One, it eliminates the “what’s for dinner” question that I hate SO MUCH.
Two, it helps me plan so I know if I need to run and get something at the grocery store, I’ll know.
Three, if we find meals we like, I can keep them listed on there in a rotation to eat them often, thus making my life SO much more manageable.
You can use a chalkboard or a magnetic board too instead of paper and pencils! It may be a little more effort to erase and rewrite all the time, but this is personally my favorite way to do it!
If storage is an issue, you could always get a slim dry erase board like this and make it your menu!
Grocery list/To-do list
Tag teaming the menu is the good old grocery list. Creating your command center in the kitchen makes it easy to jot something down on that list if you run out of something.
Keep track of all those things you need to do around the house too! Having a designated spot for a to-do list does away with scattered sticky notes everywhere (my previous method).
Sometimes I try to set reminders for myself on my phone, but if they go off and remind me and I’m not ready to do it then and there, I’ll forget. But writing them down in a centralized location really helps me remember when I have the babes and adult babe in my ear telling me things they want/need.
I like paper, but you can totally set up an electronic version as well. It’s entirely a personal preference, and if you’re trying to create a command center in a small space, it may be better to have some electronic components as long as that makes sense to you and the way your brain/family operates!
Suppose your command center is on a full wall. In that case, you can find hanging wire baskets to create storage space for mail or school papers that need to be signed and returned or other homework assignments that need special attention.
Pottery Barn and stores like it carry modular wall systems with everything you need for a command center. Still, if size is an issue for you, they may not be an option.
Magazine holders can be a great solution to this. They’re great for storing things like takeout menus, bills, or whatever other papers your family has. You can look for baskets in the size that fit your space!
This one is very size-dependent, and it also is going to require that your command center is near an outlet which may not be possible if you’re in a smaller space.
But if it is, definitely consider keeping your electronics and chargers there! I’ve seen people make charging stations with a basket to store the cords, too, so it doesn’t look as cluttered.
This is also an excellent spot for keeping essential documents that you need access to often. Just keep them in a folder or case where they’re not going to get lost!
Hooks/Place for keys
I consider this optional because often, your command center isn’t near where you’re going to need to easily access your car keys, especially if your command center is somewhere like the back of a kitchen cabinet.
However, if you have the space near your front door for your command center or another place that makes sense for where you come in and out of your home, this is a great option.
While we don’t currently have a full-blown command center in our house (yet), I stuck some tiny magnets on the bottom of the frame of a piece of artwork by our front door, and it works PERFECTLY for us. It’s also right next to the side door that we use to come in and out.
You can have larger cute cups that attach to your wall if your space allows and stick pens and markers in there.
For small command centers or in smaller areas like a kitchen command center, you can try these tiny pen holders but can expand depending on whether they’re holding a pencil, a chunky highlighter, or dry erase markers.
Optional: Paper Shredder
Small spaces, look away.
Larger spaces, if you have the room for a paper shredder, I highly recommend it. It can really help in reducing paper clutter and…dare I say….artwork?
I’m not a terrible mom, and I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you can be a great mom and not keep every piece of artwork that enters the house.
Here’s my rule: Handwriting (some) and art made with fingerprints/handprints stay. Everything else can go (so sorry, parents of preschoolers! I feel for you).
A smaller paper shredder like this can actually make the kids feel better about their art going in the “trash” because you can let them put it in there and make it a whole fun thing. Just watch for little fingers and make sure you’re supervising.
11 Possible Command Center Layouts
Here are some of my favorite command centers from around the internet to get your creative juices flowing.
Top 3 Tips To Creating Habits and Routines Around the Family Command Center
You can have a command center all day. Still, quite honestly, if your family isn’t creating habits around it, you’re not going to use it to its full potential.
Here are 3 INSANELY helpful tips for using the command center so you can get an idea of how to implement it into your own family’s life.
Create a family mission statement
Come up with a list of your ideal family, and then write it out in sentences. What are your family’s core values? Faith? Love? Hard work? Fun? Write it down to be displayed in the command center.
Use that to determine what will be helpful to add to the command center, so there’s a space for everything.
Treat it like a planner
Use the command center to develop meal plans that work for you, a grocery shopping list, and important things for your family schedules.
Note that calendars can actually be interactive if you like doing things like creating a schedule for your day at home together (i.e., “Mama cooks, kids clean.”). It’s nice if the command center is in the kitchen so your kids can see how awesome their hard work has paid off.
Use the command center for completion checks
Completing tasks in the command center gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’ll keep you motivated to keep on top of things, so things don’t pile up again.
Make sure that whatever your family chooses is working for everyone and encourages everyone to be responsible.
You do you! This way of organizing isn’t the only way to go about it, but if you’re in a small space, why not try something that doesn’t take up much room or requires that much storage? There is no “best way” to do this! It’s all about doing what works for your whole family and something you can use daily so that it becomes a habit!
You can find ways to make the command center functional for your family in many different ways!